Ronald Dworkin in NYRB on the presidential election and the fate of the Supreme Court

The election of Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress could well be a catastrophe for both economic stability and social justice.

The catastrophe might very likely be prolonged, for decades, by Romney appointments to the Supreme Court. Four of the Court’s nine justices—including two of its four moderates—are well into their seventies, and the odds that the next president will have a dramatic and enduring effect on the Court’s composition are strong, particularly if, following established Republican tradition, he appoints justices young enough to stay in power long after the political climate that produced their appointments has disappeared.

The great danger of a strengthened radical right-wing court is sufficiently demonstrated by the rain of legally indefensible and politically retrograde 5–4 decisions in recent years
, including Bush v. Gore, which cursed us with George W. Bush, Gonzales v. Carhart, which sustained a cruel federal law outlawing “partial-birth” abortions, Seattle School District and Jefferson County Board of Education, which overturned voluntary, modest, and effective programs aimed at increasing racial diversity in public schools, and the infamous Citizens United ruling that corporations have all the First Amendment rights of real people so that they have an unlimited right to spend their corporate treasuries on television ads opposing candidates whose policies they think against their financial interest.

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